We like to think that justice means every criminal is convicted and every victim feels satisfied.
But is this utopian ideal even desirable?
East New York Season 5 Episode 7 suggested that it wasn't, using two cases that seemed unrelated on the surface to make its point.
It seemed like an open-and-shut case when Antonia was caught with blood on her shirt minutes after shooting a supermarket owner.
But it didn't even take until the first commercial break for Regina and Morales to realize there was a lot more to the story.
If it were simply that Antonia killed a man who raped her, that probably wouldn't fly in a court of law. But add in the fact that the SVD (not to be confused with the more idealistic and dedicated-to-justice detectives over on Law & Order: SVU) buried this case because, technically, it wasn't a stranger rape, and things get more complicated.
Antonia had no other way to get justice. Brooklyn SVD wouldn't even investigate the case.
Morales felt partially responsible. She caught the case but wasn't allowed to pursue it. She wanted justice for Antonia and any other victims that SVD ignored.
Morales: A couple years ago, she was raped.
Regina: What was the disposition?
Morales: It never even made it to trial. She met the guy in a bar and so it was considered acquaintance rape. There's just not enough resources to go around.
Regina: So stranger rape is higher priority? I take it this wasn't your choice.
Morales: It wasn't. Decision came down from the CO at SVD.
Regina: If you want to connect this shooting to this rape, go ahead.
In the past, no one would have ever blinked an eye at an overworked SVD chief deciding to prioritize certain cases and leave others to be forgotten, but times have changed, and Regina wasn't going to accept that.
Regina knew how to play this game. She was polite and cordial when she was face-to-face with Jack, then immediately gave Morales her blessing to work against him.
Suarez's rebuke of the SVD commander was especially impressive. Suarez is more political than Regina. He's ambitious and reluctant to ruffle feathers if it could interfere with his career plans.
This time, he came down squarely on the right side, telling Jack that being overworked wasn't an excuse for burying cases. Good for him.
Surprisingly, he took it a step further by allowing Morales to get involved in an investigation into potential misconduct at her old department. This will make her life more difficult, but she's willing to follow in Regina's footsteps and stand up for what's right.
Good for her! I can't wait to find out what's going to happen next with this.
Sandeford advised Bentley on East New York Season 1 Episode 4 that it's best not to rat out other cops, which Bentley didn't want to listen to when it came to a racist cop messing with him. And now, Morales plans on talking to the DOJ about Jack's potential misconduct, which is an even bigger case.
There are turbulent times ahead, and I'm here for it!
Regina's mission to reform the police department was never going to be easy. There were always going to be bad cops who didn't want to be exposed and traditionalists who feared change. Some will fight dirty to stop her and anyone else from pushing through reforms they don't like.
Morales is about to experience what it's like to be on the frontlines of police reform. Will she be able to handle the pressure? And will Killian be supportive?
He didn't fully understand why Morales was upset about Antonia's case; he definitely won't get why she's "turning rat" if he finds out what she's up to.
Quinlan also faced a dilemma after learning her new friend Thora might have been involved in an old murder.
Thora initially thought Quinlan was such a nuisance that she wanted her to move the hell out of the projects. Understandably, Quinlan doesn't want to do anything to jeopardize their newfound friendship now.
Nobody was particularly interested in solving the case, except maybe Yenko, and even he said that proving they made an effort was good enough. It was a fifteen-year-old murder that nobody at the projects wanted to discuss, and most people had forgotten about it.
While tenants at the projects aren't usually eager to talk to cops, they also want it taken seriously when people are assaulted or killed in their community.
One of their beefs with the cops is that they are far quicker to arrest community members than they are to protect them, so the fact that no one wanted Shugee's murderer caught was a huge red flag.
Shugee was a bad guy, at least according to Thora and Sandeford, and if Thora did have anything to do with his death, it was probably justified.
I'm not sure it sits well with me for a cop to say the world is better now that a victim is dead. In this case, it might be true, but it's an attitude that justifies police violence against citizens, so let's not go there.
But what good would it do to hold Thora accountable for this murder at this late date? She likely killed the guy in self-defense, but the world would only see that yet another murder happened in the projects.
Thora probably knew that. Otherwise, why would she tell Quinlan anything?
It led to a nice moment between Bentley and Quinlan. I knew that kiss was coming sooner or later, but I didn't expect it to happen yet. Squee!
I'm less excited about this potential relationship between Troy and Morales. So far, Troy has more or less been an asshole. He needs more layers to his character before I can get behind him dating Morales (or anyone, really.).
What did you think, East New York fanatics? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
Don't forget you can watch East New York online.
East New York airs on CBS on Sundays at 9 PM EST / PST.